Something Special: Laying the Groundwork

The 1991 Redskins are, by some accounts, the greatest team in franchise history. They may even be the greatest Super Bowl champion of all time.

Even two-plus decades consisting largely of frustration and ineptitude can’t wash away the glory of that year.

Since 2016 is the 25th anniversary of the last Washington Redskins championship team, I thought this was as solid a justification as any to debut a new podcast series for Hogs Haven.  The podcast below published there last week.

In researching the ‘91 Redskins, one phrase that came up over and over when I read player interviews was “something special.” That’s why I chose “Something Special” for the title of this series.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be revisiting the story of the 1991 Redskins and the players and moments that made the team so memorable. You can listen to the first episode, entitled “Laying the Groundwork,” below.

New episodes will debut at Hogs Haven each Thursday, and I’ll republish them here a few days thereafter.  Enjoy.

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The WWE Has a Big Problem. Here’s the Solution. Really.

In light of recent events, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit this piece from a couple of years ago. I’m cautiously optimistic that we may be headed down a road that’s substantially similar to the path for which I pined back in 2014. And that would be . . . awesome.

The Axis of Ego

The WWE has a problem.

Surprisingly, I’m not talking about anything related to stock value or corporate governance.  I’m referring specifically to the aspect of pro wrestling that matters most to me as a fan: Storytelling.  And, whether the creative team realizes it yet or not, the WWE has a huge, looming issue that will negatively impact the long-term fortunes of the product.

Something is changing about the way WWE tells stories.  It’s a change that is heretofore unknown in the world of sports entertainment.

Look at the current WWE roster.  Notice anything odd?

Maybe not.  I’ll explain what you should be looking for . . .

HoganWarrior Not every conflict has to be “heel vs. face,” but that structure must be the backbone of the promotion.

Let’s start with a basic point: For storylines generally to work on a consistent basis, the WWE needs heels (bad guys, in…

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The Imposter

Real Tennis CourtYou’re familiar with tennis, right?

Are you sure about that?

Did it ever occur to you that the game you think you know, is, in fact, an imposter?

In this podcast, I reveal the secret identity of one of the world’s most popular sports—with the help of Ivan Ronaldson, the Head Court Tennis Professional of Prince’s Court, right here in the Washington, DC area.

This is the story of real tennis.

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Untitled Online Dating Podcast

BurningLaptop02Online dating is the worst, right?

Well, maybe not the worst, but it’s not all rainbows and lollipops, either.

Except maybe grindr.  Or so I’ve heard.

Anyway, this week, I present a podcast that’s an adapted and updated version of an online dating piece I wrote several months ago, detailing my experiences, as well as the pros and cons of various dating sites, including Match, OKCupid, Hinge, Bumble, eHarmony, and Tinder.  I also touch upon the highs and lows of my taking a “shotgun” approach to online dating.

Join me, won’t you, as I stare blankly into the darkest mirror of all!


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Spy vs. Spy

ThunderballNovelCoverIn this episode, I examine one of the most infamous and protracted intellectual-property battles in entertainment history.

The war over the rights to James Bond—specifically, the story and script for Thunderball—took over half a century to resolve fully.

Luckily, this podcast isn’t nearly that long.

The conflict between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming (and Fleming’s rights-holders) raged on for decades, while also creating a very unusual cinematic rivalry that I detail here.

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New York Game Show Disaster 2005

TomSTS08CStorytelling podcast number three delves into an embarrassing (and public) moment from my own past.

I view it differently today than I did then.  But, that’s pretty much how life works, isn’t it?

It’s no Father’s Day tribute or story of a man who saved the world, but, if you’re a current or recovering sports nerd (or you like reveling in my misfortune!!!), you’ll enjoy it.

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Flirting with the End of the World

RussianEarlyWarningSystemIn my second run at a storytelling podcast, I thought I’d shift gears and shoot for something more historical than personal.

I tackle a crucial but probably underreported event that arguably affected just about every single person on the planet.

This is the story of the most important man in the world.

Chances are, you don’t know his name.

But you probably owe him a thank you.


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Father’s Day

It was.

It was.

Let’s try something a little different, shall we?

I thought I would take some time to honor my dad by telling the story of my favorite Father’s Day memory.

Instead of writing my usual 2,000-word treatise, I took a different approach, presenting the story in podcast form.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

This should appeal to anyone who was a pre-2004 Red Sox fan.  Or anyone who has a father, I guess.

It’s about 16 minutes long.  It’s worth it.

Also, for anyone who might enjoy talented people who actually use podcasting to tell stories that rise to the level of art, I would once again recommend you check out Goat Rodeo DC.


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Let’s Look at Some Pictures of Puppies

2016 has been a rough year in nearly every way imaginable.

I wish that I could say things are looking up.  Yet, I find my customary optimism waning as even foreseeable events (particularly one in November) have the potential to add to our cycle of misery, to say nothing of events we can’t possibly anticipate.

That’s why I want to talk about puppies today.

!cid__0505000045For the last several years that I lived in Richmond, I was very involved with an organization called Bonnie Blue Rescue.  The pet rescue service found animals from all around the country (mostly the southeast) that needed foster homes.  A lot of them had special needs.  The goal, of course, was to find “forever” homes for these creatures.

Here are pictures of some of the first animals I fostered, a pair of Weimaraner / Lab mixes named Barney and Macy.  Barney showed up first, all eight pounds or so of him.  He looked like his skin was two sizes too big.  His sister showed up a couple of weeks later, and they were inseparable from that point forward.

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Revivalism is Here to Save the Internet

I thought I understood podcasting.  Then I listened to Revivalism: Busk.

The series, from Goat Rodeo DC, a Washington-based audio and podcast network, follows a cross-country road trip that explores a fading but distinctive sliver of American culture: Professional street musicians, also known as “buskers.”

RevivalismLogoThe four episodes released to date cover Asheville (NC), Oxford (MS), and New Orleans (in two parts).  Each one features an intimate look at a small number of artists—sometimes a single musician—making a living as a street performer.

It sometimes isn’t pretty.  But it is always authentic and powerful.

Several things about Revivalism are remarkable.

As you might guess, music is thoroughly woven into each episode.  Often, the music bookends stories told by the artists during interviews, adding implicit meaning to their songs.  You can hear the love, the pain, the triumphs, and the struggles in the strain of every note.  It overflows from their instruments and voices.

Yet, the most compelling element of Revivalism isn’t the music.  It’s the stories.  And, more to the point, the magic is in the expert storytelling of the hosts / interviewers / narrators, Ian Enright and Carlisle Sargent.

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